Overview: Guest contributor Sara Dennis from Classically Homeschooling walks us through creating the perfect high school homeschool schedule, so you and your teen can work together smoothly and get ‘er done!
I love homeschooling teenagers. They work independently, have fascinating discussions, and are involved in many activities. It’s exciting watching my kids turn into young adults. However, to help my teens accomplish everything on their to-do list and to keep my sanity intact, we need a high school homeschool schedule!
The schedule ensures my teens have enough time to complete their schoolwork and enjoy their extracurricular activities. Plus, a good schedule ensures I have time to devote to my teens’ education and drive them wherever they need to go.
Elements of the Perfect High School Homeschool Schedule
The first step to creating a homeschool schedule for high school is to figure out how many classes and extracurricular activities your kids want to take. Let’s be honest; there are more excellent opportunities than hours in a day.
Allow enough time for schoolwork.
Obviously the first priority is ensuring that your child has enough time for schoolwork. Figuring out the needed time for school is tricky, as kids work at different speeds. I had one child take 4 hours to finish all their schoolwork and another dyslexic child work for 7 hours and still have assignments unfinished.
I plan on each class taking a bit more than an hour a day, five days a week. If your child is taking five classes, plan on schoolwork taking six hours or so. The extra time will give you flexibility for those days when a writing assignment takes longer than expected.
You may discover that 6 hours is too much time. That’s easy. Allow your child to enjoy the benefits of working quickly and diligently.
If you have a child who needs more time, carefully adjust so that your child has enough time to complete school work while still having time for extracurriculars and friends.
Adjust for extracurriculars and social time.
Once you’ve figured out how much time to allot for schoolwork, add some extracurriculars and social time to your schedule. Teenagers flourish when they can meet with other teens and develop new interests.
I like to plan a traditional school day in my house and give my kids the morning and early afternoon for schoolwork. Then we take off around 3 pm for extracurricular activities. The plan isn’t set in stone, though.
Some of my kids enjoy curling up in their room with schoolwork in the evening, as the house is settling down, making it the perfect time to get a head start on tomorrow’s schoolwork.
Work with your teen’s natural routine.
It’s tempting to get the household up at 5:00 in the morning. Do you know how much time you have for extracurricular activities when you can be done with schoolwork by noon?
That said, it’s a recipe for disaster if your teenager is a night owl. They may want to get up early, but they’ll drag through the day.
Instead, work with your child’s regular routine. Figure out how to fit schoolwork into the schedule around the extracurricular activities and when your child has the most energy. For instance, while my kids can curl up reading their literature books in the evening, math needs to be done in the morning.
Everyone will be much happier when your teenage homeschool schedule doesn’t require a dramatic change to their natural routine.
Devote Fridays to your teens.
It’s no secret that high school teenagers need less daily maintenance than little first and second graders. However, teenagers still need you involved in their homeschool.
High school students require regular discussions to ensure they understand the concepts they just learned. They’re also working their way to their worldview. The teenage years are an excellent time to guide your children as they grow into adulthood.
However, this requires time. And if you have a bunch of little kids in the house, finding time for the teens is complicated. My solution was to put my younger children on a 4-day schedule and devote Fridays to my teenagers.
We discussed history, science, and literature. I double-checked to make sure all schoolwork was completed and to my satisfaction. And the little kids enjoyed having a day off to run around the yard and play with Legos.
Set office hours.
I know that having office hours sounds crazy for a homeschool family. Aren’t you available all the time?
Homeschool moms are busy. They care for kids, the house, and the yard. Plus, many moms work or volunteer. Time is at a premium.
And teenagers don’t need you to hover over them as they work on algebra problems. They’re capable of listening to the lecture and completing their assignments.
But, they run into problems from time to time, problems they need your help to solve.
Office hours gave my teenagers a time they knew I would be available to answer questions, discuss a quick concept, or listen to their frustration about a math problem. It was a time I wasn’t dealing with little kids or dashing out the door. I was able to give my teenagers my undivided attention.
If they didn’t need my help, I had a few extra minutes to enjoy a good book and a cup of coffee.
Consult your teens about their high school homeschool schedule.
Most importantly, consult your teens as you’re making a high school homeschool schedule. I’ve found the kids can’t create their plan as they have no idea how much time a class will take.
They’ll budget too much time for fun activities and too little time for school. Or they’ll create a schedule that keeps their nose to the grindstone all day.
However, most teens have good ideas for how they want their days to flow. What time they’d like to get up, when to curl up with a good book, and what activities to join.
So talk to your teenagers and get their input as you create the schedule. It will save you hours of grief in the future.
An effective high school homeschool schedule will make your life easier. Your teenager will know what and when assignments are due. You’ll be able to balance your teenager’s needs with the needs of younger and older family members.
Ultimately a good high school homeschool schedule will allow you to more easily give your teenager an excellent education.